Feeling the summer heat starting to creep up, you're dreaming of the end of finals and lazy days by the pool. But being the entrepreneurially minded student that you are, you know your summer vacation is the perfect time to build and grow your business. The free time that eludes you during busy semesters will be in abundance, so summer is the time to focus on your business and maximize your efficiency.
During the school year you're balancing school, maybe a part-time job and trying to launch a business idea, but during the summer, your business can effectively be your full-time job, says Raman Chadha, executive director of the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center at DePaul University in Chicago. "The summer is a great time to engage in those activities that you may not have the time for or may not be as mission-critical during the school year, such as overall business and strategic planning," he says.
It can also be a great time to research different ways to grow your business. Misa Chien, founder of Miss Misa, a jewelry manufacturing and retail company in Los Angeles, used the summer of 2006 to find a manufacturer who could produce her jewelry creations in bulk, enabling her to increase her sales volume. "I also found different ways to do magazine ads and banner ads on the internet, just through research I did over the summer," says Chien, a junior at the University of California, Los Angeles. And knowing she was going to be studying in Paris that fall, Chien used the time to plan for her absence--creating enough stock to last the business through her semester abroad and training her boyfriend so he would be able to handle the stocking and shipping of her products while she was overseas.
You can use the summer months to network with other businesses as well. "It's a great time to connect with other entrepreneurs who are out of college because you have the opportunity to get off campus," says Chadha. "It's so important to get mentoring, contacts and advice from more experienced entrepreneurs. [During the summer,] you have the time to get involved with local organizations." And if you're back at home with your parents during your summer breaks, you can even enlist their help and advice for your business.
In fact, while she was vacationing with her family during the summer, Chien enlisted her sister's help in assembling the jewelry, which is sold online at www.missmisa.com. She also distributes her line through a few specialty boutiques in the U.S. and in Paris--thanks to the connections she made while she was abroad--as well as in Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Chien, 21, runs the business part time during the school year and projects sales of about $30,000 for 2007.
There's no time to waste this summer. "The best time to make your summer plan is now," says Chadha. "You can spend a few hours before finals to make a to-do list of what you want to accomplish during the summer. Then, once finals are done, you can hit the ground running."